herald

Monday 22 October 2018

Dixon longing for his debut

Four years after infamous call-up, Terry targets Trap following his senior bow

AN FA Cup first round battle between Stevenage FC and MK Dons in front of 2,956 fans.

Not exactly the stuff of dreams, but for Terry Dixon it was a big occasion and a step -- albeit a baby step -- towards achieving his dream of playing at the top level with club and country.

London-born striker Dixon has been the subject of hundreds of news stories and much internet debate since he burst onto the scene in a big way back in 2006.

A call-up to the senior Ireland squad by Steve Staunton made the front pages of the papers due to the fact that Dixon was only 16 and hadn't even played a first team game when he sat on the bench for a friendly at Lansdowne Road.



Finished

Until last month he still hadn't played a club game of any note, as a series of knee injuries almost finished off his career before it began, so that's why his appearance off the bench for League Two side Stevenage in their FA Cup battle with MK Dons last month was such a big event, his debut in senior football.

"I suppose that I dreamed about making my debut for Spurs against someone like Arsenal or Manchester United, not against MK Dons in the first round of the Cup, but I am just very happy to be playing at the moment," says Dixon, still only 20-years-old, who joined League Two side Stevenage on a non-contract basis in October.

"It's a case of taking things step by step at the moment, and the progress for me will be slow.

"I have only played two games as sub for Stevenage, two club games in my whole career isn't that much.

"That game against MK Dons was just a step for me but I need to take the next step now.

"I need to step things up, build up my fitness, and the next challenge for me is to get 90 minutes under my belt and then do that on a regular basis.

"I need to do that if I am to get to the top level," added Dixon, who has spent long spells with Tottenham and West Ham.

"But that is still my aim, to play in the Premier League and to play for Ireland.

"I am very ambitious and I want to get back there. But I won't get there with words, I need to show that on the pitch and on a long-term basis," Dixon told the Herald.

Moving to Stevenage is not quite the last chance saloon for Dixon, but he does admit that this move -- the third coming in his career after those spells with Spurs and West Ham -- has to work if he is to build on the career which showed so much promise.

"It was a crazy time," he says of his unexpected call-up to the senior Irish squad by Staunton in 2006. "I was on the front pages of the papers in Ireland.



Highlight

"My parents were in the papers and on TV, and I was only 16, it was hard to take in, but that experience -- being in the Irish squad -- is still the highlight of my career."

Knee injuries almost finished off that career before it started. Released by Spurs in 2008, he had a long spell out of the game but an operation on the knee got him back playing and he did enough to earn a three-year contract from West Ham last year.

But Dixon admits he didn't do enough to see out that contract as he was released after less than 18 months. "I was an idiot at West Ham," Dixon admits.

"I had fallen into some bad habits when I was out injured and I kept up those bad habits when I was at West Ham; drinking, staying out late, not eating right, just messing.

"So I didn't do myself any favours at West Ham. I was an idiot but I have learned from that."

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